Read­ing has been a plea­sure – guilty and other wise –for Adele Parks right from her ear­li­est years...

My Weekly Special - - Fiction First Class -

My mother was a big reader and passed that love of books on to my sis­ter and me. All my ear­li­est mem­o­ries are to do with books. I re­mem­ber hav­ing fair y tales read to me in bed. My favourite ones were il­lus­trated by Janet and Anne Gra­hame John­stone. Once I could read I, like many chil­dren, threw my­self into the many worlds that Enid Bly­ton pro­vided. I climbed up The Magic Far­away Tree and was whisked away on The Wish­ing Chair. I didn’t iden­tify it as es­capism then, but I loved the fact books could trans­por t me, pro­vide dif­fer­ent worlds to dwell in. We vis­ited the lo­cal li­brar y and were bought books when we were ill. I still have my copies of Char­lie And The Cho­co­late Fac­tor y, Peter Pan and Chron­i­cles of Nar­nia. All are un­fet­tered, glo­ri­ous ad­ven­tures, not bound by any­thing as dull as prob­a­bil­ity or com­mon-sense, packed with vil­lains and heroes who get their just deser ts. I think all of us long for that level of fair­ness and sim­plic­ity in life! In­ter­est­ingly, next I started to read books that chal­lenged my as­sump­tions. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mock­ing Bird broke my hear t. I read it when I was about 13, and grap­pled with Scout’s ob­ser va­tions about adult hypocrisy and racism.

By the time I was in sixth form I read al­most a book a day (I didn’t do much else!). Nat­u­rally, I read ever ything by Jane Austen and the Bron­tës which meant I had a warped view of ro­mance. I didn’t fare too well in the real world, as teenage boys just couldn’t match up to Mr Darcy or Heath­clif f! I read English at univer­sity – I was able to read nov­els all day and say it was work!

Through­out my 20s, when I had var­i­ous of­fice jobs, I read a lot of the fab­u­lous Mar­ian Keyes on long com­mutes and dur­ing lunch hours. Her work, Jane Green’s Straight Talk­ing and He­len Field­ing’s Brid­get Jones helped me be­lieve that I might be able to write some­thing other peo­ple would want to read too. So I wrote Play­ing Away.

One of the best things about be­com­ing a pub­lished writer is that once again I’m in the lovely and lucky po­si­tion of read­ing books and say­ing it’s work! My all-time favourite adult books in­clude Notes on a Scan­dal by Zoë Heller, The Time Trav­eller’s Wife by Au­drey

Nif feneg­ger and Big Lit­tle Lies by Liane Mo­riar ty. The bril­liant thing about books is, there’s one to fit and lift ever y mood.

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